Thursday, December 28, 2006

family secrets

Sitting around eating dinner with the fam tonight. My little sister challenges my parents to tell us stories about their life before children, you know, the ones that they never told us before "because we were just kids" -- and now that we're all grown-ups, the idea is that they can fess up without corrupting us.

So mom pipes up "You mean like tell you who your real fathers are?"

Ha ha ha, no. We're not ready for that.

Always on the lookout for opportunities to blame others for my misery or shortcomings, I decided to seize the moment to blab on about how I never did anything bad or scandal-worthy, and gripe about how I always had a lame early curfew and was held under serious suspicion but I WAS SO GOOD.

I mean, nauseatingly good. As a teenager, almost all my friends were bad asses, and I lived vicariously through them, always ready to be the non-judgmental DD who'd hold their hair back as they puked or accompany them to the Sexual Health Clinic for a test. (I had a foul mouth on me and talked a good line, but that doesn't count when you don't kiss anybody with tongue until you're 16.)

Although, now that I think about it a bit, I remember this one sorta punk/gothy friend of mine, Carolyn: tiny, beautiful, brilliant, brooding, deceptively selfish, spectacularly manipulative, and hell-bent on causing heart failure or nervous breakdown in both of her over-protective elderly parents (they'd had just the one daughter, and rather late). When we were 15, she was dating some guy named Jack. He was 31, on parole for god knows what, and lived in the basement of this punk house-share downtown. She really wanted me to meet him. So I went over with her one day after school.

Down we went to the basement. The brass bed had dishevelled sheets and handcuffs attached to two of the headboard posts, which I noticed but only later really registered as to purpose and application. Jack was lounging on the bed in tight jeans and no shirt. He was skinny and when he smiled I saw he had no front teeth. He had a scale out and there was a huge brick of something sort of dark greeny-brown, and he was weighing small pieces of it and wrapping the pieces in tin foil. We shook hands and smiled at each other. He suddenly realized his teeth weren't in and apologized, reached over to a small table to grab them and pop them in.

"Hey Roo, do you know what that is?" Carolyn asked, pointing at the huge brick Jack was cutting up with a knife.

I hadn't a clue. Not even the slightest. "No," I said.

"Isn't that cute Jack? She doesn't know what it is."

"Yeah. That's cute!"

"It's hash."

"Oh. OK."

We talked for a bit and Jack said "Hey, I have something I want to give you." He opened the night table drawer and took out a bookmark. It was sparkly and had a unicorn on it. (I still have it somewhere, more by accident than on purpose.)

See Mom and Dad? I was SO GOOD! I didn't even hot-knife! Just hung out with drug dealers and ex-cons who'd have BDSM statutory-rape sex with my under-aged friend! Left with nothing in my hands but something that would help me find my place again in my dog-eared copy of Anna Karenina!

I bumped into Carolyn last year in the women's change room of a Winner's. (For American readers, I understand this is the Canadian sister chain of TJ Maxx or something like that, you know, 30-50% off brand names, and do not even THINK of looking for pants but you might luck out with the shoes.) She was with her mom, who looked about the same as she did 15 years ago (haggard, depressed). Carolyn was living with her parents while she finished her psych degree. I guess they've worked a few things out.


My dad just walked into the room and wanted to know what I was doing. I said "a blog entry". He said "is it about me mourning the death of James Brown?" I said "no, but I would have if you'd made a pilgrimage to the Apollo to see his body." And he said "well I WOULD HAVE if I knew that it would have earned me my own blog entry."

My dad and a bunch of his friends were 16 when they drove down from Montreal to NYC - unaccompanied - to see James Brown and the Famous Flames at the Apollo in 1960 or 1961, before James Brown was even particularly well-known. He says it was 3/4 full and they were in the balcony, but they could see well enough, and JB was sweating and strutting and doing his fancy footwork, and it was fantastic.

Mom, if he's not my real father I don't want to know, okay?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

the mustang has galloped on your face!

Watched a Thai boxing martial arts film tonight with my sister from Whitehorse. We were about 10 minutes in when she said "Wait. What? What are they saying?" which is when we realized that the subtitles weren't turned on. It started making a tiny bit more sense after we sorted that out.

Mind you, we'd just come back from an hour or so of running and sweating in the hills with our brother, and had showered and changed and settled down with a drink and a snack. It's funny how when you're thirsty, you'll knock back almost any drink set down in front of you, as if it were water. Especially when that drink set down in front of you is vodka mixed with Orangina.

I love when my family is home for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

what does God love more? flowers or rainbows?

just answer the question
what does Satan love more? flowers or rainbows?
what does Satan hate more? flowers or rainbows?

Seriously, if you can find a way to listen to this, you must. At about 1:08 PM last Sunday I was loving it so much I couldn't stand it that people I knew and cared for were MISSING IT. So I called a friend and shouted into the phone "Quick! Turn on CBC!" and then hung up on him, so I wouldn't miss another word.

Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET (9:00 NT, 8:30 PT)
Sundays at 1:00 p.m. ET (1:30 NT, 4:00 PT) on CBC Radio One

*Transcribed pathetically and enthusiastically from my likely faulty memory. Apologies to Jonathan Goldstein.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

this is about ten coconuts and two wheels of cheese

Last night I watched Mutiny on the Bounty, the old one with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable from 1935, all high-waisted pants.

I like that Clark Gable wasn't some testosterone-muscled freak, the way male movie stars are expected to be today.

I developed a small and fleeting crush on the actor who played the earnest, wholesome and easy-going Roger Byam. As it turns out, that was a fellow with the improbable name of Franchot Tone, who in real life was a chain smoker who married three or four times, including once to Joan Crawford, for heaven's sake.

Also, Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh looks a lot like the sister of someone I knew. She had the same always-downturned mouth. Like Bligh (in this version of the movie), she had a bone to pick with just about everyone, and would interpret anything anyone said in the worst possible light. Sometimes she was fun and had a wacky sense of humour, but overall she just took everything too darned seriously. For example, I once greeted her warmly and told her she looked good (she was dressed nicely for some event or another), and she snapped, "You're so obsessed with these Western standards of superficial appearance!" (Seriously, if you knew how I dressed, you would really find this extra funny.)

A few things to note about the production:
  1. When Bligh orders a sailor keelhauled, there is this really creepy low-tech image flashed on the screen of an almost featureless doll being dragged through some murky fluid. I paused and replayed it a few times and couldn't make head or tail of it.

  2. When Clark Gable as Christian Fletcher kisses the Tahitian woman he would later "take as his wife", they briefly superimpose a sunset, and then on the second kiss, wind-swept palm trees. I guess kisses are sometimes like that.

  3. In the DVD version, there is a special feature - a 1935 short about Pitcairn Island "An Oddity". No fucking kidding.

  4. I think Laughton was wearing prosthetic eyebrows.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

but I did not

Go listen to Howe Gelb "But I Did Not".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Officer, book me! Uh, I mean, bookmeme.

I'm sorry, sometimes I don't have a good excuse for subject lines like that.

Tagged by Rik.

  1. Grab the book closest to you.

  2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence.

  3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog.

  4. Name the book and the author.

  5. Tag three people.

Sorry, but isn't very frothy (and I know you come here for frothy things like poodle anus pimples and hypnotic squirrels and rhinestone caps), but the book closest to me was The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World by Hugh Brody.

It's a book I've been reading on and off for months, (usually on the bus to and from work) because I like the north and am interested in First Nations issues and like thinking about these things. So here goes:

The first of these essays, "The Original Affluent Society," summarized the main discoveries emerging from anthropological field work: with small populations, low levels of need and expertise in a particular landscape, human beings could eat well, enjoy much leisure and evidence great health of body and mind. The central stereotype of human social evolution was more than contested and undermined: it was turned on its head.

Yet these new insights into hunter-gatherers, for all their force and authority, did not transform debates about land rights and claims; nor did they secure new kinds of assessments by the courts.

I tag the fabulous Isoglossia. And since I live in a dream world, I also tag Stuntmother and Erin (two strangers whose blogs I read).

Monday, December 11, 2006

"I'm the Bishop of Southwark, it's what I do."


There were many appalling and heartbreaking things in the news today, but since we're all so busy amusing ourselves to death, (and I don't mean in a Michael Hutchence sort of way) let's look at this article instead. (Said the actress to the bishop, indeed, har har.)

Also, I forgot to mention, the winner of my little homemadeNaBloPoMo prize offering is Joy from A Spot of T. Turns out she's Canadian too! I have to get off my ass and make then send that mix cd for her soon, loaded with banjo-ey goodness.

For some inspiration I was going to go check out the frantrastric Tiny Mix Tapes, but their archives are still being ported over to their new site, so the famous song lists for things like "Music for Calling In Sick Then Hanging Around in Only My Underwear, a T-Shirt, and an Apron While I Make Pear Chutney Which I Will Later Give to Unsuspecting Co-Workers for Christmas Presents"* or "Mix for Forgetting Grade Five Gym Class High Jump Humiliation" are currently not available.**

*I did this once while my friend Dave hung out on my couch in his boxers. It was hot. I mean, temperature-wise. Dave and I love each other and grab each other's bums occasionally, but our relationship is (and always has been) purely platonic.

**I don't know if those mixes exist, but they should.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

extreme vitamin taking

I'm getting sick today, which means my brain feels like a watery nubbin and my throat is sore. Chances that this post will be good are slim.

Oh no wait, maybe it will be okay. I just need to get up to my old tricks. See, I have this odd friend/coworker, this very unique guy who makes outlandish claims. So what I can do (in this watery nubbin state) is just post another one of his charming rambles -- conveniently I recently found another as I was cleaning up my Sent Items. (See, I got in this habit of writing down what he'd say and then sending it back to him in an email, at which point he'd usually say "Wow. I said that? That's NUTS.")

This is a good one:

Vitamins are basically glue, so instead of going and buying large quantities of hippie capsules, I buy regular vitamins and cut them up, and then I add Coke, because it simulates stomach acid, which dissolves them. Then I drink it and feel sick for about twenty minutes. You don’t know it, but in normal and non-extreme-vitamin-taking life, there’s a regular amount of pain and discomfort. But this concoction is way worse than regular pain, and then it goes away, and then you feel much better. [drinks concoction of mashed low-grade vitamins and Coke] I mean, I am uncontrollably making an angry face. I can feel my esophagus closing, and I instantly start sweating. But in twenty minutes I’m going to feel really quite good.

There you have it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

white pimples around poodle anus

So, it turns out someone came to my website by searching for "white pimples around poodle anus".

Thanks Google ANALytics! I didn't know that I'd ever even USED any of those words in a post. Well I have now. Thanks for the inspiration, unknown Internet user! (I hope you found a good vet in the meantime.)

[Clears throat, shakes head, recovers.]

So my rat-bastard car, almost 15 years old, and just in time for Christmas, has just cost me more money. Is it a money pit? Yes. Are all cars money pits? Yes. But I need a car to get me to the hills where I can ski, and to get to banjo lessons after work, and to blah blah blah it's just so boring.

I wrote to my dad about it with the subject line "your daughter is a moron", because he's been urging me for a while now to dump the death-trap tin-can '92 Honda Civic and get something more reliable. But my mechanic says the frame is still good and safe, and that I can probably get another 6 months out of it before the next mondo repair. So I'm going to try to get it through the winter.

I guess I'm just not car-proud and never want to be. A good thing too, because here are the curses of the Rolling Tumour, with all its scabs and seepage*:

- floor on driver's side, always wet
- no A/C and when vents are turned up, mysterious clicking sound
- little door over gas cap now permanently loose
- rear hatch release permanently broken, now can only open back door with key
- slam door too hard, chunks fall away from car's haunches
- automated car washes impossible for similar reasons (those high pressure jets are too punishing)
- smallest bumps result in music skipping (this is new; CD player used to be fine)
- web of cracks in windshield on passenger side obscures view, makes passengers nervous

(Note: For a while there, volume of music would unpredictably and spontaneously rocket upward to ear-drum bleeding levels, which was kind of cool, if satanic; friend took apart faceplate and soldered something back together.)

But here are the blessings of the Red Rocket:

- miraculous gas mileage (at highway speeds I can go 5-6L/100 km and it's only slightly less good in the city) and therefore less pollution
- spill crap in my car and I laugh
- poke holes in the upholstery with your ski poles or fingernails or steak knives or laser-eyes and I laugh
- web of cracks in windshield on passenger side obscures view, makes passengers nervous (friend confessed he spends whole trips with me suppressing nightmare images of shard of glass suddenly flying loose and penetrating his wind pipe, I told him windshields SHATTER in a spray of glass, ha ha ha, relax)

*I mean this figuratively, it isn't actually leaking anything. Somehow.

Monday, December 04, 2006

secret lives of trucks

Isn't it a beaut? Thanks to Matt Hooker (who stated correctly, "The trucks have pure battle lust coursing through their fuel lines.")

How jealous are you!? (It will soon be MINE!)

Finding art I really like was a GREAT side effect of the cursed NaBloPoMo.

Friday, December 01, 2006

not sure WHY, mind you, but

iPod accessories

An oldie but goodie -- Rik's fabulous iStab.

Because Xmas is coming.